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Beavers make the postseason for the first time in two years, nearly knock off Trojans

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton sophomore defender Megan Unruh tries to control a ball in the open field against Wilson.

The end, as it does for all but the two teams that happen to make the Class 6A state championship, came too early for Megan Elsom and the Beaverton girls' soccer team.

Waged in a hostile first round playoff road battle with Wilson, the Beavers were upended by a Trojan close-range goal in the second half and eventually eliminated from the 6A playoffs in a 1-0 loss at Wilson High School on Nov. 2.

As one of just four seniors on this uber young Beaver squad, Elsom's emotional embraces with her teammates and poignant conversations with her coaches spoke volumes. The captain wanted another crack at the second round, one more chance to keep playing high school ball.

But looking back on the season, Elsom and company have come so far. A little more luck, a few more scoring opportunities against the Trojans and maybe the Beavers pull off the upset and advance.

"We're just so proud of each other for the work we put in today," Elsom said. "I don't think a loss really described what we did out here. They got a lucky set play. We were knocking on their door the whole game and just couldn't get the ball in tonight. But I know our quality is good enough to do that. We just didn't get the job done. But I think our effort really showed how this team works together."

Nonetheless, Beaverton had nothing to hang its head about. They clashed with their favored foe all night and put fear in the hearts of the Trojans, particularly in the first half where the Beavers created a handful of promising offensive chances.

"We haven't played a first half like that in a long time," Elsom said. "We usually come out a little bit slower. We came out with intensity and played really hard. (Wilson) really felt that. We had possession; we were crossing passes across the field. We were kind of unstoppable. But (Wilson) ended up getting lucky at the end, which was unfortunate."

From playoff no-shows a season ago to starting the season scorching with an undefeated record, earning a No. 21 standing in the 6A power rankings and winning eight regular matches, Beaverton put itself back in the state soccer conversation. Beaverton senior Sydney Frank was first-team All-Metro at forward and junior Ella Baker earned second-team All-Metro honors. Senior goalie Natalie Allen, who was awesome against Wilson, was honorable mention All-Metro. Head coach Jennifer Kirwan was named Co-Metro Coach of the Year. The Beavers were right in the middle of every match, even against a juggernaut like Jesuit. The chemistry and cohesion, which came together early and was apparent from non-league play, carried this team through every win, tie and loss.

"We play for each other, that kept us motivated," Elsom said. "There are no individual players on this team. When we're on the field we're playing for the person next to us and the person in front of them. We could work for each other."

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